Tag Archive: inductors

  1. Magnetic Components 101: Transformers, Inductors, and Chokes

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    magnetic components
    Magnetic components are passive elements that rely on an internal magnetic field to alter electrical current. They play a critical role in many electronic devices, equipment, and systems. Some of the industries that often make use of them include:

    • Appliances: Magnetic components play critical roles in both common household and advanced industrial appliances (ranging from refrigerators to telecommunication devices), particularly when it comes to converting AC to DC as well as power line filtering.
    • Automotive: Magnetics are found throughout cars, regulating voltage in power supplies for climate control, dashboard display, interior and exterior lighting, and other systems. The advent of electric and hybrid vehicles has increased the range of applications for magnetics in the automotive industry.
    • Communications: Magnetic components are used for both low-voltage and high-voltage communication systems, such as radio frequency circuitry in cellphones or conductors in high-voltage transmission systems. Larger transformers are also critical to the telecom infrastructure.
    • Computers and Electronics: Many types of magnetics components are found in computers and other personal electronic devices. By selecting optimal components, manufacturers can increase power efficiency, and in certain cases can decrease size.
    • Defense: The defense industry’s demand for magnetic components has expanded as surveillance equipment, transport vehicles, and weaponry have become more and more advanced.

    In the following article, we provide an overview of magnetic components and the three main types employed by industry professionals—i.e., transformers, inductors, and chokes. Additionally, we cover the product offerings available at MPS Industries.

    What Are Magnetic Components?

    Depending on their configuration and function, magnetic components can be categorized into the following groups:

    • Low-Frequency Magnetic Components: These elements are generally designed for use in applications involving frequencies between 50 to 500 Hz and voltages of 220 to 240 VAC. Typical applications include conveyor systems, HVAC systems, line filtering, motor drives, and uninterrupted power supplies (UPSs).
    • High-Frequency Magnetic Components: These elements are designed for frequencies in the kilohertz (kHz) or Megahertz (MHz) range. Typical applications include computers, communication systems, electric cars, and mobile device charging systems.
    • Isolated Magnetic Components: These elements protect users from electrical shock in applications where incidental contact may occur. Typical applications include laptop power supplies and wearable medical devices.
    • Non-Isolated Magnetic Components: These elements reduce noise or briefly store energy for use in future operations. They are generally used in applications where human contact is less of a concern.

    They can also be classified into two main product groups: transformers and inductors. Transformers change the voltage level by stepping it up or down, while inductors introduce resistance to the circuit and store current.

    Both products rely on the property of electromagnetic inductance, which was discovered by English scientist and inventor Michael Faraday and American scientist Joseph Henry separately but concurrently in the 1830s. Faraday’s Law, as it is often called, describes how changes in the magnetic environment of a circuit result in the generation of electrical current and, conversely, how an electrical current generates a magnetic field.

    Below we provide a more detailed description of transformers and inductors, outlining their function, basic design and construction elements, types available, and key design and selection considerations.


    Transformers consist of two or more coils of wire that allow for the transference of electrical energy when subjected to a changing magnetic field. They are primarily used when the power within a circuit must be transferred between two different levels. In addition to stepping the voltage up or down, they also function as filters or stabilizers for the circuit’s voltage levels.

    yellow and grey transformer

    Types of Transformers

    These magnetic components are available in many designs and configurations, each of which is suitable for different use cases. Some of the most common include:

    • Single-Phase Transformers: Single-phase transformers contain two windings, a primary and secondary one. By connecting the two components, they enable the transfer of AC power from one circuit to another.
    • Three-Phase Transformers: Three-phase transformers consist of primary and secondary windings that each contain three separate but connected windings. They are generally used for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electrical power in industrial applications.
    • Step-Up/Step-Down Transformers: These transformers increase (step-up) or decrease (step-down) the voltage as current flows through them.
    • Power Transformers: Power transformers are used for the transmission of higher voltages within and between systems.
    • Current transformers: Current transformers are used for measuring or monitoring current for control and/or load centers. They are implemented for current measurement, electrical load monitoring, energy and sub-metering products, network equipment, instruments and sensors, control systems, and green initiatives.
    • Isolation Transformers: Isolation transformers regulate high current and voltage levels by separating the primary and secondary windings. This design protects any devices connected to the secondary windings from overload damage. Current transformers and potential (i.e., voltage) transformers are both variations on this design.

    Design and Selection Considerations

    When designing and selecting a transformer, there are many factors to keep in mind to ensure it functions as intended. Some of the key considerations include:

    • Winding Design: The way a winding is coiled around the transformer core significantly affects the component’s efficiency and durability, as well as the resulting transformer type (i.e. flyback, push-pull). There are two types of electrical coils: primary and secondary windings. In a nutshell, primary windings receive power while secondary windings deliver the power. These windings are not electrically connected but share a common core, enabling the transfer of electrical power between the two coils. Voltage and current are directly correlated to the number of the primary and secondary coils’ turns around the core.
    • Material: Similar to the design of the winding, the material used for the construction of the winding and insulation can affect the performance of a transformer. Typical winding materials include aluminum and copper, and typical insulation materials include meta-aramid. The material makeup of the transformer core itself enables a successful pathway for magnetic flux. As well, the extent to which a magnetic field can be increased by the core is dependent on the magnetic permeability of the transformer core material. Examples of common transformer core materials include:
      • Amorphous Steel Core: ideal for high temperature, high efficiency, or medium frequency transformers; one of the most commonly implemented transformer core materials.
      • Solid Iron Core: This core material is able to produce high magnetic fields without iron saturation; DC applications are typical use cases.
      • Laminated Silicon Steel/Iron Core: Laminated cores are created by thin sheets of stacked silicon steel or iron, which are coated with an insulating layer to prevent losses of energy via eddy currents in alternating current (AC) components.
    • Size: The size of transformer needed depends on the expected load capacity required. Other factors that influence size include future growth expectations, space constraints, and budget limits.


    blue and yellow inductor

    Inductors consist of a wire coil or loop wound around a metal core. They allow for the storage of energy and the introduction of resistance to a circuit. As current runs through the circuit, the element stores it in the form of magnetic energy. When the current flow ceases, the magnetic field generates voltage in the conductor.

    Types of Inductors

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    Similar to transformers, inductors are available in many variations to suit different applications, such as:

    • Bobbin-Based Inductors: As suggested by the name, these inductors are wound on cylindrical bobbins. They are generally employed in printed circuit boards (PCBs).
    • Toroidal Inductors: These inductors have toroidal (ring- or donut-shaped) cores.They typically come at a smaller size and lighter weight – about half the weight and size of more conventional inductors – making them a great choice for smaller power supplies. Toroidal inductors offer stronger magnetic fields and lower electromagnetic interference (EMI), making them ideal for higher-frequency and lower-power applications.
    • Multi-Layer Inductors: These inductors feature multiple winding layers, which increase inductance and capacitance capabilities. Multi-layer inductors are commonly found in DC/DC power conversion circuitry within smartphones and wearable devices, for example. The inherent structure of these inductors offers space and cost reductions for the circuit system overall.
    • Film Inductors: These thin inductors are used for DC to DC converters in mobile electronic devices, such as smartphones.
    • Variable Inductors: Variable inductors allow the magnetic core to be moved, allowing the circuit to “tune” between frequencies.

    Design and Selection Considerations

    When designing and selecting an inductor, industry professionals rely on some of the same considerations as those for transformers, such as winding design, size, and material. Other factors to keep in mind include series resistance and interference from other devices, both of which may cause operational issues if left unaccounted.


    Chokes consist of insulated wire coiled around a magnetic core. They are a type of specialized inductor designed to block high-frequency alternating current (AC) while allowing low-frequency direct current (DC) to pass through unhindered, minimizing the risk of noise interfering with system performance.

    Types of Chokes

    Chokes are available in two variations:

    • Common Mode Chokes: These chokes feature two or more coils on a single magnetic core, with each winding positioned in series with the conductors. They are effective at blocking noise in applications involving two conductors with currents that are equal but flowing in opposite directions.
    • Differential Mode Chokes: These chokes operate similarly to common mode chokes but generate flux in the opposite direction to cancel noise-causing current. They are ideal for use in applications that require noise filtration from a single conductor.

    Design and Selection Considerations

    When designing and selecting a choke, key considerations include impedance, frequency, and current requirements. These factors influence the optimal winding design, core, winding, and insulation materials, and mounting method for a given application.

    Contact the Magnetic Component Experts at MPS Industries Today

    MPS facilities

    At MPS Industries, we offer an extensive selection of magnetic components suitable for use in a  wide range of electronic devices. Our product portfolio includes transformers, inducers, and common mode chokes. By partnering with us for their magnetic component needs, our customers benefit from our:

    • Broad product lines
    • Custom design capabilities
    • Domestic design and manufacturing support services
    • Commitment to superior product and service quality

    For additional information about our magnetic component offerings, contact us today.

  2. Manufacturing & Magnetics – An Important Industry Outlook

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    With 2017 officially closed, now is the time to look towards industry predictions in the new year.

    Industry Outlook Predictions

    Projections for 2018 show positive outlooks for three of the main industries MPS serves.

    The renewable energy sector, both globally and within the U.S., will always be at the forefront of debate and conversation. Renewables (in particular, wind and solar) will continue to increase their share of the power mix.

    Industry experts have predicted that the medical market will continue to grow in the upcoming year, given the fast pace nature of technological advancements and increasing role of tech in medical devices. Our design team ensures our magnetic components meet industry requirements, such as UL544 standards.

    In the global consumer electronics industry, the forecast is for a healthy demand in 2018, particularly for Smart TVs, 3D TVs, smartphones, and tablets. Connected devices that use magnetic parts continue to provide potential opportunities, especially as new data sources come to fruition.

    Meeting Demands in 2018

    Our broad product offerings will carry on into 2018 as our MPS team continues to manufacture magnetic components, including transformers and inductors, for industrial applications across a wide range of industries.

    Clients will still be able to work with our experienced team to design and engineer custom electrical components as per request.

    Having a diverse product line enables our team to effectively serve multiple markets worldwide from our headquarters in Gardena, California. Our high-quality lineup solves client needs across industries such as automotive, industrial, renewable energy, medical, military and aerospace, telecommunications, and consumer electronics.

    Moving into the New Year

    At MPS Industries, we embrace opportunities to fulfill customers’ visions and possess the skills to move quickly as industry demand increases across the sectors we serve. Our agility, both in strategy and operations, and excellent customer support, makes us a great choice for your magnetic components manufacturer this year.

    Contact us today for your next project or any questions you might have. Also, follow us on TwitterLinkedIn, and our blog to receive the latest industry and in-house updates.

  3. How to Tell if Your High Current Inductor is Really High Current

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    You’ve selected an inductor, but how can you tell if a high current inductor truly is high current? It’s crucial to confirm that the inductor you’re using matches the specifications you need and that they are capable of performing accurately.

    Certain manufacturers use data sheets to mention the saturation current on the inductor “can be up to almost 100 Amp with 30% drop in inductance.” If you ask us, that’s a relatively vague description. It’s hard to tell if this explanation means that your inductor can actually be used at 100 Amp when the copper size can only carry less than 30 Amp and a 40°C rise in temperature. Power engineers often misinterpret the fact that these inductors are rated at the saturation temperature.

    As a leading industry expert in high current inductors, MPS Industries manufactures high current fixed inductors in compact size packages with varying inductance ranges. We also provide full customization options for any of our products. Our inductors can be used as a true high current (>100 Amp RMS) rated inductor.

    At MPS we carry a wide range of products. Our team is dedicated to increasing our offerings year after year to better serve your magnetic component needs.

    Be sure to browse our inductors and contact us to speak with an Applications Engineer or Sales Representative regarding your inductor requirements.

    If you’re in need of magnetic components, we can support you!

    Contact us to speak with an MPS representative today.

    Remember to follow our blogTwitter, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on related manufacturing and industry developments. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

  4. Help the Manufacturing Industry Celebrate National Manufacturing Day!

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    As the first Friday in October, National Manufacturing Day 2017 will happen on October 6th. As a prominent electronics component manufacturer, MPS Industries is happy to spread the word about NMD. This year the event promises to be a day full of education and encouragement for all attendees.

    What MFG DAY Means for the Industry

    Produced by the National Association of Manufacturers, National Manufacturing Day is a way to halt common misconceptions about the industry. Facilities across the nation will open up their doors to connect with the next generation and present the truth of the industry as it is today. Along with providing this educational opportunity, the annual event also provides manufacturers with a platform to speak about positive industry attributes, as well as shared challenges, and to connect with the community.

    These efforts help ensure a strong future for the United States manufacturing industry that is enjoying a comeback following the Great Recession of 2010. Inviting students, businesspeople, journalists, teachers, and politicians onto industry shop floors across the US can help influence public views about manufacturing.

    Bridging the Skills Gap and More

    National Manufacturing Day is important as it provides firsthand the opportunity to see the tech-savvy present-day manufacturing force. MFG DAY is a vehicle to combat current issues facing the manufacturing industry, such as the skills gap and the shortage of girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects in comparison to boys.

    MFG DAY also is in favor of reshoring or bringing manufacturing jobs back to the organization’s headquarters rather than outsourcing overseas. Our MPS team supports reshoring, STEM education, and efforts to bridge the skills gap.

    Inspiring Future Generations

    Inspiring younger generations to seek manufacturing careers is something we are passionate about here at MPS. Our clients span many industries including: industrial, military, telecom, aerospace, automotive, and consumer electronics. Learn about each field by attending National Manufacturing Day events in your community.

    MPS Industries designs and manufactures top-quality magnetic components, including a range of inductors and transformers. Stay current on relevant industry developments by following our blog and by connecting on Twitter and LinkedIn. For electronic components from an ISO 9001:2008 certified company, MPS has your best interests at heart. Contact us for your next order.

  5. The Automotive Recovery, Powered by MPS

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    Recent news and trends all point to a giant recovery for the American auto industry. Most major automakers saw moderate to large sales increases in 2012; one market research firm, Polk, now expects new car sales to increase by 6.6% in 2013, thanks to a recovering economy and growth in the pickup truck and midsize sedan markets.

    Last year, American auto company, Chrysler reported its highest sales since 2007. Meanwhile, the Japanese automakers have been recovering from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated factories and drastically decreased production; Toyota, for example, sold a record 9.7 million vehicles last year, and expects to sell even more in 2013.

    Whether you’re dealing with a German vehicle or an American one, a pickup truck or a compact car, quality products from MPS Industries are the best parts for automotive applications. We provide TS16949-certified manufacturing, and we also bring extensive experience with automotive requirements like IMDS and PPAP to the table. Our transformers and inductors are not only reliable and energy efficient, but they’re competitively priced to boot.

    No matter how severe the environmental condition or temperature, our magnetics are guaranteed to perform. We manufacture parts that can be used in fuel pumps, particulate matter sensors, and DC/AC inverters that can be used to power electrical devices inside of vehicles, like TV screens or DVD players. MPS Industries components are at work in every part of the car.

    2013 promises to be a one of the biggest year for vehicle sales in quite a while, and MPS Industries products will be there to make sure everything keeps running smoothly.

  6. Electronics and the eCommerce Revolution

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    With Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the rear-view mirror, the holiday shopping season has hit full stride. As expected, these two highly anticipated shopping days did not disappoint in 2012; in fact, Cyber Monday was most likely the busiest eCommerce day in history up 30% from last year.  In addition, both days proved that even traditional shoppers have become highly tech savvy consumers. As a leading manufacturer of electronic components for consumer electronics, MPS is thrilled about this latest trend. You will find our custom transformers, inductors, sensors, and power supplies in holiday gift favorites like laptops, printers, game consoles, DVR boxes, and just about anything, you plug in or charge. Tech focused companies like Best Buy, Amazon, and eBay had outstanding stock performances on Cyber Monday and most are expecting their strongest holiday seasons ever.  The way American’s shop and the products they shop for, has fundamentally changed.

    In order to take advantage of this massive retail paradigm shift MPS combines outstanding cost-effectiveness with the ability to support high volume production of your custom designed electronic components. Our team of design, production, and supply chain experts know how to get products to market fast. Therefore, you can get custom electronic components at the right price and in time to take advantage of the even the most chaotic holiday season.

    If you want to jump into the 21st century feet first, contact MPS today and let us show you the way to the future!