If the frequency of a transformer is decreased by keeping voltage same, then what will be the new kVA rating, magnetizing current and inductance, the induced voltage and loss of the transformer?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ The third sheep on the left. What? \$\endgroup\$
    – Majenko
    Dec 20, 2011 at 22:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Majenko - No - the sound of one dog barking, but, see answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Dec 21, 2011 at 0:07

4 Answers 4


I'll assume that your question is meant to apply to power transformers intended for single phase AC mains use. My answer also applies more generally to some extent.


  • For small changes in frequency - say a 60 Hz transformer run on 50 Hz,
    kVA up slightly,
    magnetising current up by MORE than 60/50,
    inductance down somewhat,
    induced voltage about the same,
    losses much higher.
    Death threatens.

AC mains power transformers are usually designed to make best use of the active material used to construct them - mainly the windings and the magnetic core.

Power transfer relies on magnetic flux and the more the better (usually) so the core material (usually a laminated steel specially suited to the purpose) is arranged to have as much flux produced in it by the AC current in the primary winding.

The measure of the magnetising force is ampere-turns (H) and this is translated into magnetic flux (B) by the formula B = u.H where u (mu if i had Greek easily to hand and brain) is effectively a conversion factor. If u was constant we could keep on adding H (more amp-turns) and getting more am more and more output from a given core. Alas, there is a limit and above a given H level for a given material and various other conditions we startto get proportionately less B. This is known as saturation. In practical terms we get more magnetic flux with more current up to a certain limit and above this we get less and less and less and ... return as we add more amps.

As the extra amps create losses in the copper and in the core and extra heat which tend todo bad things.

SO transformer manufacturers usually run their cores on the knee of saturation - at the point where the diminishing returns set in- so that they can get as much output as possible from the transformer. This affects the answers to your questions severely.

If frequency of a transformer is decreased

The lower frequency will see a lower impedance, there will be more current you will push further onto the non linear knee of the BH curve, the transformer will be less efficient but will handled somewhat more maximum power.

If you eg operate a transformer properly designed to run on 60 Hz it will get hot and unhappy on 50Hz even on no load. Ask me how I know ;-).

keeping voltage same then what will be the new KVA rating

Somewhat higher as somewhat more B for you exrta H BUT for say 20% more current you may get 5% more flux and 5% more kVA out but 20% more kVa in AND 45% more copper losses.

magnetising current

mc will go up as there is less B per u - effectively the impedance has dropped.

and inductance

Less inductance. Death is beckoning.

induced voltage

Voltage is proportional to turns ratios and primary and secondary are linked by same flux so more or less the same voltage out. Secondary effects may change this slightly.

and loss of transformer ?

Potentially total loss of transformer :-).
A 60Hz transformer on 50 Hz runs hot.
Make that wider and it would die. An eg 400 Hz aircraft supply power transformer of any appreciable power would die faster than you could run when connected.

This can be a bit complex.
Some of the above may be somewhat wrong in any given case - but probably right enough in most.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Umm...can you shed some light on what happens to iron losses especially eddy current losses? And also why would inductance decrease? Because saturation~end is near? \$\endgroup\$
    – Deep
    Mar 17, 2018 at 16:23

Transformer operation at lower frequency :

If 60Hz is designed frequency of transformer if operated at say 10hz will require impedance voltage / 6 for rated current to flow in transformer . 2) Impedance at 10hz will be 1/6th of impedance at 50Hz. 3) Transformr will get heated fast for less voltage applied.


A late reply, but a good explanation about how frequency affects power handling, is available in an article from Meno van der Veen, a globally recognized transformer expert employed at Plitron. This year Plitron changed its name to Noratel, and I didn't see the article there lately.

The question is very broad. The short answer is a rule of thumb that can be applied to any given transformer. It gets you close. The only 100% correct answer is to know the exact design of the transformer, or to test the candidate transformer non-destructively.

Quote from the article including the rule of thumb: Assume a transformer, "which can handle 50 Watts at 30 Hz. Then this transformer can handle 50/2 = 25 Watt at 30/1.414 = 21.2 Hz. Or the transformer can handle 50 x 2 = 100 Watt at 30 x 1.414 = 42.4 Hz. The rule behind all this is: “the power capability doubles when the frequency is a factor 1.414 larger. The power capability halves when the lowest frequency is divided by 1.414 (square root 2)”."

The article is at the link below, or you can search the web for "Secrets of Output Transformers" and read about the power capability and losses. http://www.dalitech.com/Resources/Secrets%20of%20Output%20Transformers.pdf

Noratel has a set of articles that should help understanding: https://www.noratel.com/company/transformer-school/

I am sorry the answer is not exact, but every transformer design is different.


If you change the operation frequency of Transformer, then 50Hz transformer will give more output instead of 60Hz frequency transformer.

for detail, read the proved example with calculation...

http://www.electricaltechnology.org/2013/04/a-5060-hz-transformer-which-one-will.html http://www.electricaltechnology.org/2012/03/can-we-operate-60hz-transformer-on-50hz.html

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you add some more details from those links? Link-only answers are discouraged and at the moment this seems like mostly an attempt to spam some links. \$\endgroup\$
    – PeterJ
    Jun 4, 2015 at 13:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Load X_L is lower at 50Hz than 60Hz. Z will be lower so greater I. This has nothing to do with the question. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2015 at 14:29

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