Three-phase transformers can be categorized depending on their construction. There are two types of 3-phase transformers: the core-type with primary and secondary windings wound on one core and the shell-type transformer that combines three 1-phase transformers. In core-type three-phase transformers, the core has three limbs within the same plane.
To make a three-phase transformer calculation, you need to know the units involved. VA represents Volts-amperes while kVA represents kilovolts-amperes. These units are the sizing reference for every transformer and represent the apparent power of the device. Apparent power is different from absolute power or real power represented by Watts.
A three-phase transformer works like a three-set iron core. Each set has its primary and secondary winding, where most of the power dispersed is in three-phase AC. A three-phase transformer is a self-contained and mostly static device operating in AC.
In power generation, the generator produces electricity by rotating three coils or windings within a magnetic field. Three-phase transformers almost work the same way. They have coils or windings spaced 120 degrees apart called “Delta” or “Wye” connections. However, instead of generating power, transformers simply convert the voltage that passes through them.
Every three-phase system has three coils or windings. These coils, when placed in the proper sequence, allow matching of voltages on desired ratings. There are plenty of advantages the three-phase transformer has over its single-phase counterpart. Below are the most notable ones:
Less expensive. A three-phase transformer is less expensive than three single-phase transformers of the same rating.
Easy to install and assemble
Higher efficiency and rating performance
You can get a single-phase power supply from a three-phase power supply. Meanwhile, it is impossible, for vice versa, to get a three-phase power supply from a single phase.
However, there are also situations wherein a three-phase transformer is not practical. Among the disadvantages of three-phase transformers are:
Expensive maintenance and repair
If a three-phase transformer fails mid-way, all adjacent load areas shut down. The whole three coils shut down until repair.
A failed winding in a three-phase transformer requires a complete repair or replacement. Meanwhile, in the case of a single-phase transformer, only the faulty ones need replacement.
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