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Help.. Transformer question

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Cruz Martniez, Nov 12, 2014.

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  1. Cruz Martniez

    Cruz Martniez

    Nov 12, 2014
    Im a little new to electronics and need some help. I have a boss that doesn't know too much about electronics and is giving me a wiring diagram of 12v car batteries where it explains how to wire them in series and parallel to get different results. She wants me to test our 12v transformers in the same wiring configurations. Our transformers are step down 120 to 12v 4 wires for the input and 2 on the output and we use them for LED lighting. my first question is
    1. Can you say a transformer is the same as a Car battery
    2. Can you use the same wiring diagram for both (transformers & Batteries)
    3. How would i be able to explain to her that they dont work the same way. She insists that a transformer is the same thing as a battery.
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    not really, the only close similarity is they can supply voltage and current
    you haven't told us if your 120V - 12V transformers ( assume you really mean plugpacks ??) have a 12V AC or DC output ??

    you can, with limitations

    the biggest difference would be a car battery would be able to supply much more current than the avg plugpack transformer

    so clarify what these "transformers are for a start

    and welcome to Electronics Point :)

  3. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    1. In some respects, yes. In others no.
    2. In theory you can, however it is also possible that one of the output leads is earthed, making a series connection impossible. If the "transformers" are actually constant current LED drivers then series connection can cause problems. If they are voltage sources then parallel connection can cause problems. Whether they will or not depends on their design and how they cope with overload and/or odd voltages at their outputs.
    3. She is your boss, so be diplomatic. The first thing is that they are not transformers (and even if they were, transformers are for AC, batteries are DC). They will include other electronics, and may not actually contain a conventional mains transformer. Secondly, they do not have the same load characteristics, and completely do not have state of charge characteristics which make parallel connection of batteries relatively simple.
    KrisBlueNZ likes this.
  4. Gryd3


    Jun 25, 2014
    Once we know what these 'transormers' actually are, we can give better advice.
    In the mean time, I would grab a multimeter, and check to see if any of the outputs are connected directly to any of the inputs (including ground). This will help ensure you don't accidentally ground out or short out one 'transformer' when you connect the second to it.

    Good luck with the boss... but as stated above, there is no simple yes/no answer. It entirely depends on what you are actually using, and how it is wired. If they are switch mode supplies, or simple linear supplies, if they are internally connected to ground or any of the inputs etc.
    So keep that in mind.. if the ones you have do allow you to do what you are asking, a different product (even if advertised as the same device) may not which could result in a problem.
    Does anyone here have any other tips to help him determine this on his own without asking the forum if he gets asked to test another 'transformer' of a different make in a week or 2?
  5. Cruz Martniez

    Cruz Martniez

    Nov 12, 2014
    We are using chassis mount transformers

    4-06-5012 part number.

    thank you Dave
  6. Gryd3


    Jun 25, 2014
    That's what we needed right away!
    Well.. Lucky for you, it is just a simple transformer and not a switch-mode power supply.
    I didn't see any additional passive or active components, so you should certainly be able to connect the outputs in series or parallel for your tests.
    Just make absolute sure that when you try these out, that none of the outputs are inadvertently tied to ground.

    Hopefully, this is an ongoing project.. a transformer by itself is not suitable to drive LEDs.
    Just saying, but hopefully your company has it all worked out already.
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