The Advantages and Disadvantages of Isolation Transformers

At Power Systems International, we market the best equipment and power solutions that our customers can expect to use. We know each of our products inside out and, sometimes, that’s easier said than done. The majority of our products, systems, and machines are made up of many other intricate, stand-alone systems.

And one of those individual systems is an isolation transformer. In today’s article, we’re going to take a closer look at the precise role of an isolation transformer, explaining why we bother to use them at all. You’ll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of isolation transformers, and how Power Systems International uses them as part of our UPS set-up.

What is an Isolation Transformer?

An isolation transformer is slightly different to your standard transformer in that its chief purpose is to isolate two different electrical circuits. Simply, it isolates the load from its power supply, and this can be extremely useful when engineers need to separate equipment from a power source. These transformers manage to do so while also transferring electricity from the source to the device.

As with all transformers, they’re constructed with a primary winding and a secondary winding. But where transformers normally use electromagnetic induction in the windings to transform the current or voltage (AC) from one level to another, the windings on an isolation transformer remain separated and ensure that faults aren’t transferred along the stages.

What Are the Advantages of Using One?

Ok, so now you know what isolation transformers are. What are their applications? And what are the advantages of using them?

Safety

Like so many other electrical devices, the most obvious advantage of using an isolation transformer is the safety aspect. Isolation transformers improve safety and protect crucial equipment that’s used in high-dependency applications.

Costly home appliances and, in particular, medical equipment always runs a risk of being damaged. Isolation transformers prevent a fault continuing down the line and risking electrical shock to both staff and patients.

Noise

Isolation transformers are also effective in reducing noise. Their intelligent design naturally filters noise, and they use shields to prevent electrical fields from interrupting the power flow. Although there is still some noise caused by running electrical equipment, there’s less electromagnetic noise.

Surge Protection

These transformers can also be used to reduce the likelihood of any power surges. The direct current (DC) signals from the power source are isolated (as explained earlier) and therefore the downstream electrical equipment can run smoothly without the risk of a surge.

Improved Quality of Power

Finally, isolation transformers improve power quality. The same Faraday shields that reduce noise also improve system efficiency by reducing the potential for current leakage. Electrical devices can therefore operate at a high level.

On top of that, isolation transformers are well suited for use on high-frequency operations and for high voltage isolation.

Are There Any Disadvantages?

But, despite all of the advantages mentioned above, there are still a few disadvantages of using isolation transformers.

On certain occasions, an isolation transformer will operate as a pulse transformer. When it operates at a low frequency, it can introduce distortion into the system and produce an undesirable secondary waveform. And, without getting into any more complicated details about the disadvantages of using isolation transformers, they’re also purpose-built electronic systems. This makes them a more expensive transformer to invest in.

Isolation Transformers and PSI

At Power Systems International, we use isolation transformers in applications where it’s essential that the load is isolated from the power source. Our designs minimise the risk of potential system damage and, in particular, with our Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Systems, isolation transformers operate like a voltage converter.

Sometimes, UPS output can differ to load voltage. Isolation transformers can rectify that, and can even be used to isolate the distribution bus from the UPS or load.

If you’d like to find out more about our UPS systems or how we use isolation transformers to protect vital equipment, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of power transmission experts.