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In a transformer, the ratio of voltages is equal to the ratio of the number of windings on each coil. So in theory, a transformer with 1 and 10 windings should be equal to one with 10 and 100 windings. Most transformers then should be able to be reduced to have one coil with only 1 (or at least, very close to 1) winding.

I would think this would be beneficial, because less wire means less resistance. Why, then, do many transformers have many windings on both coils? (my experience mostly comes from taking apart TVs and microwaves. I don't know if this is still true for power grid transformers)


marked as duplicate by ItsTimmy, PeterJ, Sparky256, ThreePhaseEel, Voltage Spike Dec 29 '17 at 6:22

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The winding count affects a number of things, such as impedance, current capabilities, power rating, etc. While a transformer with one winding on the low voltage side may give you the right output voltage, it will not be able to handle much current. \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 Dec 22 '17 at 17:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ The less windings the weaker the magnetic field. And yes, there is a magnetic resistance (reluctance). \$\endgroup\$ – Eugene Sh. Dec 22 '17 at 17:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/284401/… \$\endgroup\$ – TEMLIB Dec 22 '17 at 19:15

Any given magnetic core of a certain area at a certain frequency will only generate so many volts per turn.

For instance, an iron core 12x25mm cross section is only good for about 0.1v rms per turn at 50Hz, needing 2400 turns for 240v mains.

You could in theory make a core with enough cross section to give you any number of volts per turn, but that would make for a very expensive and heavy transformer. It's cheaper and lighter to use less core area, and more turns, when making a small transformer, to match the voltages you want to use.


The inductance of the primary in a power transformer is the main factor that sets the 'magnetizing current', which is the current that flows with the secondary open. It needs to produce an appropriate level of flux in the core (not too low or the transformer will be too big and expensive, and not too high or the core will saturate).

You could not get enough inductance from a turn or two to keep the magnetizing current at mains frequency low enough for a small VA transformer with any core material unless the loops (and thus core volume and mass and thus cost) were enormous.

The turns required is thus dependent on the core permeability, saturation characteristics, and physical arrangement, the frequency and the voltage (or, equivalently, current) for a given VA transformer.

At high frequency and/or low voltage, you can indeed use a turn or two for a small transformer with an appropriate core for the frequency. Even at 60 Hz the high current secondary of a soldering gun transformer is only a few turns, and a (high frequency) switch-mode transformer may have a primary in the tens of turns rather than hundreds.


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