A transformer is needed to change the voltage of the power supply to meet the needs of specific appliances or machines. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, transformer is a device that changes the voltage of an electric current. What most people are unaware of, there are two types of transformers, the Step-down and Step- up Transformers. The difference between these two is very tricky, but the necessity to know it is very important. Wrong usage of your step-up or down transformer might affect and destroy our hard-earned appliances and worst it might cause serious problems especially to our families. Let me give you a scenario:
You plugged your 110V type of appliance, your LED television for instance, to your 220V outlet using a step-up transformer, what do you think could happen? Yes, it would immediately damage your appliance or worse this might root to a serious problem that will put your family’s safety at stake. Too dangerous to risk!
So you might be asking now, what is the real difference between a Step-down and a Step-up Transformer?
Step- down transformers are designed to reduce electrical voltage. It has less wire turns in the secondary. Thus, decreases voltage. For instance, here in the Philippines, we have 220V electric supply. But since we have relatives or friends abroad who send us appliances that requires 110V supply, there is a need to use a Step down Transformer. Using a step-down transformer actually means that the voltage has been “stepped down”. Please refer to the diagram.
The 220V electric supply in the Philippines is being lowered to 110V, which is required by your appliance. Input is 220V and output is 110V. That is how a Step-down transformer works.
On the other hand, a step-up transformer is used when the secondary voltage is greater than the primary voltage. It has more wire turns in the secondary. The common usage of it is a starter of an electric motor. It takes a lot of voltage to initially start the motor’s turning. A step up transformer is also needed to use a 220v product in a country with 110v supply. In other words, the voltage has been “stepped up”. As you can see in the diagram, input is 110V and output is 220V. That is the main purpose of a Step-up Transformer.
So there you have it, the difference between a Step-down transformer and a Step-up Transformer. It is better not to be so confused with the two or else you might regret the consequences, right?