Current Sense Transformers
When instrumentation and high-reliability equipment require greater precision in measuring electrical currents, current sense transformers meet that requirement.
A current sense transformer transforms high voltages or currents which contain hundreds to thousands of volts or amperes to significantly lower voltages or currents that are more easily handled by instruments.
As the standard in precise current measurement, current sense transformers provide the safest and most convenient way to detect, monitor, and control electrical current flow. Given their main function of improving instrument and equipment efficiency, current sense transformers have a wide variety of applications.
Designed for Efficiency
Unlike regular voltage transformers, current sense transformers can be much smaller and have one or fewer turns in their primary winding for current detection. These design features make current sense transformers an ideal choice for monitoring current flow through power sources or loads by using different circuitry.
There are three different types of current sense transformers:
- Wound – This type of current sense transformer is connected in series with the conductor, which is carrying the measured flow. The secondary flow magnitude produced depends upon the turns ratio of the transformer.
- Toroidal – The conductor carrying the measured current flow is inserted through a window or hole in a toroidal type current sense transformer. They detect the current flowing through the conductor. Some of these have a split core, allowing the user to open, install, and close them without disconnection or interruption of the power supply.
- Bar – Bar current sense transformers are equivalent to a single-turn transformer in which the actual cable or bus-bar of the main circuit becomes the primary winding. They are typically bolted into the current carrying conductor.
These different types of current sense transformers provide the necessary step down in voltage and current, insulating small, accurate and sensitive control devices and instruments from the frequency interruptions and interference of high-voltage power lines.
Advantages of These Design Features
The design features of current sense transformers provide the user with a number of advantages or benefits. These advantages include:
- Accuracy – The turn ratios of current sense transformers allow for a measured voltage step down. The accuracy of these ratios allows for a predictable and controllable current flow.
- Easy Implementation – Current sense transformers are small and relatively easy to install. They do not require a great deal of complex engineering in order to accomplish their designed objective.
- Reliability – Current sense transformers function under harsh environmental and/or thermal conditions. Many are fully encapsulated and constructed of materials able to withstand temperatures of up to 130º C.
Current sense transformers offer an efficient and user-friendly way to monitor and control current flow to highly sensitive electronic components. Because of their efficiency, a broad range of applications make use of them.
Current Sense Transformer Applications
Through voltage monitoring and greater control of current flow, voltage regulators provide benefits to a wide variety of industries and specific applications. Those applications include:
- Electrical monitoring
- Energy and sub-metering products
- Current measurement
- Instruments and sensors
- Network equipment
- Green initiatives
- Control systems
- Electronic lighting ballasts
- Motor control
These are the most common applications for current sense transformers, but there are other areas where monitoring and controlling voltage helps maintain optimum levels of equipment and instrument operation. Current sense transformers are small, easy to install and highly efficient at accurately monitoring and controlling current flow in high voltage conductors. Their use is an essential element in smoother operation of highly sensitive instruments and equipment.
Contact MPS Industries
MPS Industries features a wide selection of current sense transformers available for a broad range of applications. We specialize in providing high quality products and solutions with a focus on meeting our customers’ needs. Contact us or request your quote for more information on our available products.
Additional Resources on Current Sense Transformers
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