Three-Phase and Single Phase Transformers – What’s the Difference?

A transformer is a very handy and practical electrical or electronic component. It can raise voltage very high or step it down considerably. This is done with electromagnetism and coils. However, some units are three-phase, and others are single phase transformers. So, what is the difference between the two? Let’s take a closer look and see.

It’s All About the Power Source

If you are not working with large commercial or industrial applications, chances are you won’t have to worry about three-phase power, but it helps to have an understanding of how it works. First, let’s check out single phase power. This kind of transformer has one primary and one secondary set of windings.

Three-phase power is more efficient than single phase, especially when it comes to electric motors. For example, you can receive inductance from three power sources instead of two, and most three-phase motors don’t need as many windings, so they are lighter.

With single phase motors, you need a capacitor to start them. This adds to the circuitry, increasing maintenance and overall costs. Three-phase motors do not require capacitors as they are self-starting. That is a couple of good reasons for using three-phase power in large operations.

Control Circuitry

You’ll find a lot of single phase transformers in control circuits. For example, a simple control circuit uses a push button switch and contactor. Most control circuits use less voltage than the motors or appliances they operate. This makes it possible to use smaller wiring and printed circuit boards with low voltage applications.

Which Transformer to Choose?

If you have single phase power needs, single phase transformers are the best choice and vice versa. However, there are many kinds of transformers to choose from, and your transformer specialists are there to help you make the right decision.