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How to make a transformer

This article explains how to make a demonstration transformer. A transformer is a device that converts one AC voltage to another. A detailed description of how they work is given elsewhere in wikipedia under transformer. The purpose of this page is to give details of how a demonstration transformer can be made very simply in a classroom in order to teach the basic principles. Demonstrations similar to this are usually performed in schools by pupils aged around 13 years old, under the supervision of a qualified science teacher.

Table of contents
1 You will Need
2 Method
3 See also

You will Need


Transformer setup
Coils, supply, and utilization devices

Strip the insulation off the end of a long piece of copper wire and wrap it 30 times around a cylinder of soft iron, to make a solenoid. [If you can use a U-shaped piece of soft iron then so much the better]. Connect the ends of the wire into the power supply using crocodile clips or other suitable connectors. This is called a primary coil. Connect a 6V bulb in parallel with the solenoid.

Now take another long piece of wire. Strip the ends, and either: wrap it around the same soft iron core 60 times or [even better] if you have U-shaped soft iron cores; use a separate core to put the 60 turns on. This is called the secondary coil

You should now have two pieces of bare ends from the second piece of wire. Connect them to a 6V bulb so that you have a loop that is independent of the power supply.

Turn on the power supply and [if applicable] join the two u-shaped soft iron cores together. Be careful, the primary coil will now be a powerful electromagnet.

Compare the brightness of the two bulbs. The secondary will be much brighter.

Repeat with 15 turns on the secondary coil. This time the secondary will be much dimmer.

This is a quick and dirty demo suitable to teach the basics of transformers. Other experiments using professionally wound coils and oscilloscopes are more suitable for more advanced or older students.

See also