Transformer facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

A transformer is a device that moves electrical energy from one circuit to another through electromagnetism and without change in frequency. They are an important part of electrical systems.

Transformers can come in many different sizes, from a very small coupling transformer inside a stage microphone to big units that carry hundreds of MVA used in power grids.

The main reason to use a transformer is to make power of one voltage level into power of another voltage level. High voltage is easier to send a long distance, but less voltage is easier and safer to use in the office or home. Transformers are used to increase or decrease alternating current (AC) voltage in circuits. The transformer is usually built with two coils around the same core. The primary coil or input coil is connected to supply side while secondary coil supplies power to load. The second one is called the output coil. The electromagnetism in a transformer is the energy source for the transformer. In power grids many transformers are used. These are networks for delivering electricity from the generator and to the user.

Transformers are a major part of a smart grid. A smart grid is a power grid with a system that automatically controls the flow of electricity. The transformers in your neighborhood, on electricity poles, or the ones connected to underground wires, usually transform high voltage of 7,200 volts to 220-240 volts of electricity to power lights and appliances such as refrigerators in homes and businesses. Some countries, such as America use different voltages in homes, such as 120 volts. Transformers cannot increase power, so if the voltage is raised, the current is proportionally lowered. If the voltage is lowered, the current is proportionally increased.

There are several basic types of transformers:

  • Step-up transformer: the voltage output is greater than the voltage input.
  • Step-down transformer: the voltage input is greater than the voltage output.
  • Some transformers have the same output voltage as input voltage and are used to electrically isolate two electrical circuits.


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Transformer Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.