Diagnosing Transformers Getting to the Heart of the Matter
From drying your hair in the morning to using your computer at work to watching a DVD on your big screen TV at night, transformers are involved in the many things we do every day. As the name implies, transformers transform electricity from one voltage to another. In the early days of electricity, it was costly to move electricity from Point A to Point B. As a result, people who wanted electricity had to live very close to a power plant. At the 1893 World’s Fair, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla introduced alternating current, or AC power, to the world. Up until this time, Thomas Edison’s direct current, or DC power, was the only form of electricity in the United States. Among the many positive attributes of AC power, engineers discovered that if the power could be converted (or transformed) to use higher voltage and lower current, then it would be cost-effective to transport the electricity over longer distances from a power plant to a home or business. This discovery and the invention of the transformer led to the power distribution system as we know it today. Transformers are the backbone of our electrical transmission and distribution system. Of these, high- and medium-voltage transformers are the most complex and the most expensive pieces of equipment in this system. Consequently, it is important that transformers be properly constructed and maintained to ensure a long service life.