Understanding the Difference between a Step-down and Step-up Transformer

meiji-transformersA 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

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.transformer 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.

Step-up Transformers

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.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?

Meiji Step-up and Down Transformers

First, Meiji was only known for step-down transformers.These step-down transformers allow you to use imported appliances of 110 working voltages countries, here in the Philippines. Since we have a working voltage of 220, it steps it down to 110V in order for appliances from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico,  Japan (100v) and others to work in our country.

This time, Meiji has also allowed our appliances from our country to be brought abroad. With the Meiji STEP-UP AND DOWN transformer, you don’t need to start all over again in buying new appliances as you start a new life abroad.

Meiji Step-up and down transformers come in 2 wattages: 500VA and 1000VA.

STstep-up and down transformerU-500 FRONT (STEP-UP AND DOWN TRANSFORMER 500VA)

As you will see, Meiji’s STU-500 is very handy. It comes with a built-in handle that allows you to easily carry and move it with you from one place to another. At its upper left, you also find a USB port which you can to charge your gadgets on. The Meiji STU-500 also has a RED power switch that turns on and off your step-up and down transformer without the hassle of unplugging all the devices plugged into it.

There are also 2 socket outlets. One labelled as OUTPUT 110v and another as OUTPUT 220V. This means, if your appliance has a working voltage of 220V (bought from the Philippines), then plug this appliance on the OUTPUT 220V socket. If however, the appliance has a working voltage of 110V (bought from Canada), then you must plug the appliance on the socket outlet labelled as OUTPUT 110V.

STU-500 BACKinput voltage selector

It is very important that you place the input voltage correctly. Input voltage means the working voltage of your current area, so if you are in the Philippines, make sure that you input voltage is at 220V. Whereas if you are in Canada, you need to change your input voltage  to be 110V.

NOTE: Plugging to an incorrect input or output voltage will result to damaging your Meiji Step-Up and Down Transformer unit.

STU-1000 FRONT (STEP-UP AND DOWN TRANSFORMER 1000VA)step-up and down transformer 1000

The features and how to use your STU-1000VA, is similar to your STU-500VA.

But as you can see one of its differences would be its size. With your bigger step-up and down transformer 1000VA , you need to calculate well the allowance for your baggage weight.

Still with a handle to carry it around with you, but this time, its power source is via a Meiji miniature circuit breaker. This way, if there should be overloading of power, your circuit breaker will automatically shut off to protect the appliances you plugged in and to safeguard your step-up and down transformer as well. Your unit also has a light indicator to inform you whether you step-up and down transformer unit is switched on or turned off.


Methods on How to Properly Troubleshoot a Step-Down Transformer

troubleshootingTransformers, like any products we use are subject to wear and tear. This is why it is very important to also be informed of ways on how to deal with these in case of any inconsistency or irregularity which may already be a sign of failure.

This post is to a simple guide on simple troubleshooting steps that can be done.

NOTE: It is still recommended to let a professional handle repairing and restoring of electrical or electronic products including step-down transformers.

  1. Using a Digital Multimeter (DDM), try to test for some turn-to-turn shorts. You can do this by setting your DDM to a high resistance level like 2 megaohms. Then, make sure that one of the probes touch the primary winding while the other touches the secondary winding terminal. You have to repeat this for each secondary coil. Your DDM should read “infinite” resistance on it. If you detect turn-to-turn shorts, it means that the transformer is already problematic and it has to be replaced.
  2. After testing for some test-to-test shorts, you may now proceed to testing for lamination shorts. This step is something that is similar to the first step, except that you have to place one of the probes on the winding terminal while keeping the other on the metal frame. Make sure that the probe touches bare metal. In case of a nonmetal finishing, try to scratch the metal frame using the probe. This way, you can scrape the finishing off and therefore allow the probe to touch the metal part.
  3. The next thing to do is check for the transformer’s continuity. This is done by placing the probe across each winding’s terminal. Then, you have to set the DMM at a low range like 200 ohms. If your DDM indicates a high reading or an “open circuit,” it means that your transformer could be either partially or completely open. This is a bad sign. Meaning, you have to get a new transformer.
  4. Lastly, check your transformer’s voltage output. Using the Test Jumper, connect your transformer’s primary winstep-down transformersding to a 110-volt source. Make sure that the alligator clips are not touching each other. They should not touch any grounded surface, too. You also have to keep in mind never to touch either the clips or the primary winding when the cord is plugged in as you will surely get a fatal shock. Then, set the DDM at on a proper alternating current voltage range. Do this for each secondary winding through placing the probes across each terminal. Note each voltage reading.

When performing these troubleshooting methods, make sure that you are careful enough not to touch parts that might cause groundings or burns. Keep in mind that regardless of how low the voltage may be, it could still be dangerous.

Understanding the Function and Necessity of Step-Down Transformers

No, we’re not talking about turning cars into robots. A step-down transformer is one whose secondary voltage is smaller than the primary voltage, but whose secondary current is greater than the primary current, as seen in the diagram below. The greater current makes up for the smaller voltage, giving the same wattage as the original. The step-up transformer, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of the step-down transformer. Its secondary voltage is greater than its primary voltage.

transformer diagram

How are the voltage levels transformed? When electricity is introduced into the transformer, it runs through the coils of wire wound around the iron core. In the diagram, the wire is composed of 50 turns. The core is then magnetized, which results in the electricity being transferred to the other coil of wire. And since in the diagram, the wire only has 10 turns, the voltage will turn out to be smaller. In the step-up transformer, the counterpart of the step-down transformer, the opposite happens, wherein the primary coil has less turns than the secondary coil.

Now, why do we need transformers? These are built to make the voltage supply compatible with the voltage requirement of the appliance. Step-down transformers “step down” the voltage supply to match the smaller voltage requirement of the appliance.

Transformer Step-down Box TypeTo your left is an example of a typical transformer used at home or in the office. As you can see, it has both step-up and step-down functions in one device. Typically, the voltages used in most homes and offices are 110V and 220V; as a result, the typical step-up or step-down transformer switches between 110V and 220V.

Even though most appliances operate under these voltages, you still have to be careful when plugging in your appliances. Always check the labels for the proper voltages, and of course, the labels of the transformers before you purchase them. You don’t want to end up buying, or worse, using the wrong transformer. If you have any trouble determining these things, it is always a good idea to consult a technician, or even the clerk of your hardware store. They are well trained and well educated with these things so as to help as much customers as they can. It is, after all, better to be aware of these things than be ill informed and then end up in trouble. Bottom line is: be careful.

As a final note, another good thing about transformers, besides the fact that they appropriate the voltage supply to the voltage requirement so as not to blow anything up, is that they have long life expectancies, if taken care or maintained properly. So make sure to invest in a transformer that you know will serve you well!

Protecting your Electronics from the Extreme Summer Heat

hot weatherHumans are not the only victims of summer heat that needs refreshments but your pets, gadgets and appliances as well. For them to work at its best and last long, it needs to be kept cool and dry. However, during the extreme summer heat, your electronics can be harmed and damaged if proper and wise precautions are not performed. Here are some tips to protect your electronics from summer heat.

1. Keep them out of direct heat and sunlight.

Leaving your gadgets such as cell phones, cameras, tablets and laptops out in the sunlight may harm the screen, battery, memory and such other parts. However, it is impossible to not take them out in the sun as well. Given this situation, it is advised to have them kept under a shade or cover them. Other electronic equipment like television and computers should also be kept away from prolonged exposure to heat for they may suffer damages such as in circuitry.

2. Do not leave them in a hot car.

Leaving your electronics in your car when it’s hot outside can destroy them as the temperature inside gets hotter from the heat outside. If they must be stored and left in the car, make sure to keep them under a light colored towel or in a casing and may also be kept in the trunk. But nonetheless, it is still better to not leave them in an enclosed hot place.

3. Separate them from one another.

Compressing them together in a small place will only intensify the hot temperature as each of them is already conducting heat on its own. Thus, they must be separated so that more air can circulate around and cool them off.

4. Take regular maintenance.

Your electronics must be able to breathe and ventilate and this can be achieved by checking and cleaning them regularly. Have them serviced or repaired as well if they are not working properly. Ensure that the vent is not blocked with the fan working well for the heat generated to escape. Some electronics such as desktop computers and laptops have internal fans to blow the heat away and keep them cool inside. If the fan is broken and if there is too much dust covering the ventilation path, the heat inside the electronic equipment will add up and accumulate to cause malfunction and overheat.

5. Avoid drastic transition between extreme temperatures.too hot too cold

Rapid transition of temperature can entail harm to your device or equipment. If your electronics are exposed in heat for a long time, allow them to cool down first before taking them in a colder place.


By following these simple preventative measures, your electronics can be safe from intense heat. Treat them as if it were you and make them happy even during summer. Take care of them and be their friendly companion so that they can survive longer and perform better.

5 Ways You Can Prevent Over Voltage

Over voltage is something that happens at home but may not be aware of. Apart from the hassle it gives people, it can also be really dangerous and even traumatic. Flash overs, sparks, and uncanny smell, which are just some of the things that might come out whenever there is an over voltage, are some things we do not like to happen.

Given this reality, it is then best to avoid over voltage in any way. But how can one do this? Read on and learn.voltage ratings

  1. Take note of your appliances’ voltage requirements. One of the most common causes of over voltage is when a particular home appliance or equipment is plugged into an outlet which has higher voltage. Because of this, there is more amount of voltage flowing into the equipment, so much higher than its maximum requirement. And so over voltage occurs. The best way to avoid this is to take note of the voltage requirements of your equipment.
  2. Use transformers properly. To deal with voltage differences, use step-up or step-down transformers. This is to make sure that the voltage that flows to your equipment when you plug it is just enough. A transformer will either step up or step down voltage level, depending on type.
  3. Be careful when dealing with insulators. One of the causes of over voltage is a break somewhere on the insulator. Because of this, the current from the source is not allowed to pass through the path and reach the other end. In result, this current flows back to the source, now with its voltage doubled. This is the reason why one has to be careful when handling insulators. Also, you have to be very picky about the ones you use.
  4. Stop using appliances when there is a storm. Among the most lightning surgescommon causes of over voltage are external ones. Lightning is one good example. When there is lightning, any appliance at home could be at risk. This is because current can actually flow from some metal components outside the house up to your system and that could just ruin some of your appliances.
  5. Consult with experts regularly. Always have your system checked so you would know if there is anything wrong. Do not wait until something wrong happens before you take action. Consulting with experts would also help you to be enlightened about some technicalities that are very crucial. And as we all know, getting rid of ignorance on matters as important as this one could be really helpful.

Over voltage can really be a problem. But if you know how to prevent this, there would be nothing to worry about.

Common Step-Down Transformer Failures and How to Prevent Them

Transformers 250-500WStep-up or down transformers help us a lot. Because in the Philippines, our working voltage is at 220-240V, appliances bought abroad having a 100 or 110V working voltage could not be functional here. This is where a step-down transformer comes in. A Meiji step-down transformer’s input voltage is at 220V, it therefore steps DOWN to 110V in order to utilize appliances from the US or Japan. Likewise, a step-up transformers input voltage is at 110V, it has to STEP UP the working voltage to 220V in order for your appliances in the Philippines to work abroad.

Meiji step-up and step-down transformers bring much convenience too when traveling. You do NOT have to worry bringing your laptop, hair dryer and other appliances you use daily because of different working voltages.

But what we sometimes miss is the fact that even these transformers can develop some glitches as well. And if we do not pay much attention, our equipments, properties and even lives could be at stake. This is why having a clear understanding of the things that might get wrong with step-down transformers would be a great help for us.

transformers coreThe following are some of the most common transformer problems:

  1. Primary winding problem. The coil that is meant to generate magnetic field is the step-down transformer’s primary winding. Having more loops compared to the secondary winding, this one may have a turn-to-turn short, which may lead to interruption of the current flow. Problems also arise when the voltage output is 10% higher than its designed capacity.
  2. Problem with the secondary winding. Unlike the primary winding, where the wnding of transformervoltage output should not be more than what is supposed to be, here, problems arise when the voltage is lower than the set value.
  3. Open circuit. If the circuit of the step-down transformer is open, then there is no continuity in the flow of electricity. Therefore, there is a break in its circuit.

These transformer problems should be properly addressed. Especially for high-wattage transformers. occurrences like overheating and fire are just some of the possible dangers that can be caused by transformer failures.

It is also advisable for individuals facing these problems to seek the necessaryTransformer Step-down Box Type advice whether to go for a repair or to immediately replace the step-down transformer. One has to know the best thing to do in order to avoid more serious consequences.

Also, it would be helpful for owners to remember the supplier of the transformer bought and regularly check the devices plugged in  for possible problems or failures. And when there are some inconsistencies in terms of the output, one has to immediately seek proper troubleshooting. This way, one can act on it immediately and ensure safety.

How to Deal With Imported Appliances

imported appliancesImported appliances may be more favored than the local ones with their latest innovations, popular brand names, prestige and exquisite quality.  People are inclined to buy appliances, gadgets and others from overseas to avail of its edge over the locally known produce.  However, there are a few things to remember when dealing with imported appliances.

This article aims to inform you of the precautions to remember in doing so.

  • Compatibility of the socket outlets. Since each country has its own standards, this should be one of the things to look out for. In case outlets in your appliance is incompatible, be informed too where to get your adapters.
  • Knowledge of your appliance. Ensure that all aspects of the device is properly explained. This includes features, technical parameters to avoid confusion and malfunctioning due to damage in its sensitive parts. Moreover, some appliances entail you to use step-down transformers due to their voltage capacities.

 Step-down TransformersManuals too, may have terms that are not commonly used by the public. It would also be wise to ask explanations from sales representatives especially if these appliances are not yet being sold in the country.

  • Maintenance. Maintaining these appliances may also be quite a challenge because not many brands have their outlets in our country to accommodate warranties.  If changing of some major component ensue, these electronic pieces might be hard to find in the local stores.  The owner can deal with this by contacting the dealers or the manufacturers on what or where to buy the replacements.

One thing more, the export of these products from the originating country is also a daunting task.  Getting the products from its manufacturer entails high risk and expensive handling charges.  There is also the danger of getting the appliances damaged because of constant transfer during transit not to mention getting the products lost during these times.

  • Money’s Worth. The owner should be vigilant enough that they get real value for what they bought. Many have been victims of this kind of fraud, believing that what they bought abroad are much cheaper not knowing that it isn’t when researched properly.

Buying imported appliances has both its advantages and disadvantages but remembering the above mentioned precautions can help you get the most out of your hard earned cash.

Power Saver: Turning it off VS. Standby Mode?

food cravingsRefrigerators are one of the most common things left on inside our homes. But if you will check your power meters, your water heater may be the bigger reason why your power bill shoot up last month. This is why refrigerators are almost always on standby in terms of its electric consumption. This however, changes when you keep on feeding on your cravings every 10minutes.

Michael Bluejay, an energy efficient expert said that a laptop or desktop usually takes 1/8 of its electric consumption when it is on “standby” or what we now call “sleep” mode. This was in the context of experimenting whether or not turning off a machine would save more electricity compared to turning it on again or just leaving it on.  This was done as many have a notion that it would save us more electricity when we turn off an appliance.

On the other hand, interestingly, we know that turning on an appliance could require probably three times more electricity compared to just leaving it on stagnant for a time where it has a stable amount of electric consumption.

sleep modeNordman also believed that sleep settings use very little energy which is probably why most BPO companies nowadays prefer leaving their computer systems on standby mode even if its not in use than to totally shutting it off. So what really is more helpful?

 Katharine Kaplan, a person who leads the EPA’s energy star program also agreed with Nordman that “sleep mode” is the best way to save electricity which is why we can assume that turning on and off an elecrtric appliance would consume much more electricity than leaving it stagnant on.

The above-mentioned statements from known personnel in their fields of electric consumption can be a good reason to say that electric consumption doubles up if we turn on and off our gadgets/appliances rather than if we leave it stagnant on.

So ladies and gentlemen, for appliances you use regularly that have standby or sleep mode, make use of these power savers! Provided with supervision and proper maintenance, you can be sure to save energy.

Find out too for yourself what really works! We’re open to hear your personal experiences. What is the better way to save electricity? Turning off an appliance VS. Leaving it on Standby?


meiji Transformers SaleCome one, come all to Meiji Electric’s whole month sale in participating ACE HARDWARE STORES! Starting July 1, we are slashing off 15% off those price tags! At last, a company that provides us with affordable, good quality electrical supplies!

This year, Meiji Electric would like to showcase their Step-Down Transformers! Rated from 50, 75, 100. 125, 150, 250, 350, 500, 750, 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 Watts! It’s time to use that rated 110W appliance with Meiji Step-down transformers.

Hassle not your relatives and friends to buy transformers abroad as they bring you your dream appliances/gadgets. Meiji heard your cry and has the answer! No minimum quantity required, no voucher or slips needed.

Visit MEIJI ELECTRIC at their participating ACE Branches:

  1. Megamall
  2. Makati
  3. Dasmarinas, Cavite
  4. Fairview
  5. Pampanga
  6. Cagayan de Oro
  7. Baguio
  8. Clark, Angeles
  9. Noth Edsa
  10. San Lazaro
  11. Southmall
  12. Muntinlupa
  13. Santa Rosa
  14. Festival
  15. Santa Mesa
  16. Davao
  17. Taytay
  18. Virramall
  19. Cebu
  20. Bacoor
  21. Mall of Asia
  22. Calamba
  23. Rosario
  24. Market Market
  25. Cubao
  26. Bacolod
  27. Del Gado
  28. Iloilo

Come and see for yourself! :D