I'm tasked to source a 1U step up transformer so that customers with only 120 VAC mains power can utilize 240 VAC for our products.

I've contacted TrippLite and APC who both offer a 2U (2 rack unit) form factor of step down transformers for 240AC input -> 120AC output (they're the only ones I could find that provided any form of rack mounted transformers). In chatting with them, they've given me a short answer that "step up transformers in this form factor is not an industry standard as it's easier to step down the incoming voltage. It also has to do with the wave form".

I come from a mechanical background and interpreted that as "there are physical/electrical component limitations to creating a step up transformer".

Can someone elaborate on why it is would be easier to develop a step down transformer in a 2U form factor vs a step up transformer?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If your product already uses a transformer with a 240 volt primary, and your market is large enough, why not consider using a transformer with dual 120 volt primaries and a 120-240 volt switch? \$\endgroup\$ – EM Fields Jul 30 '15 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi EM Fields, to elaborate the situation my product has a dual voltage PSU, however the power output on 120V line is not enough for customer use case. Power would be more than sufficient if ran on a 240V line. \$\endgroup\$ – Phong Ngo Jul 30 '15 at 22:12

I can think of no technical reason why one would be more difficult than the other. In fact, you could probably operate those transformers in reverse, except that the switches and maybe fuses would be wrong (and the approvals would, of course, be scuppered by such a modification).

I can think of many reasons why it might not be desirable from a business point of view. The market might not be there, different approvals might apply, and so on.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed, I think from a business standpoint there may not be a big enough market as most data center environments are using 220-240V mains power, so this issue wouldn't be applicable. However, I do have American customers that don't have the availability of 240V and this limits possible power output of our products (the PSU's are dual voltage capable, but limited to 1000W on 120V input). \$\endgroup\$ – Phong Ngo Jul 30 '15 at 22:09

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