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Current Transformers vs. Current Transducers

Product Announcement from Weschler Instruments

Current Transformers vs. Current Transducers -Image

The Current Transformer (CT) is used to sense AC current in single-phase or three-phase mains circuits. The CT typically has a 1A or 5A AC secondary that connects to a current, power or energy meter. This allows the meter to be located away from the mains wiring. CTs are available in a variety of sizes and styles, with standard ratios of 50:5 to 4000:5. Split core models easily retrofit around existing wiring. Solid core models offer lower cost.

Some monitoring systems are supplied with current transformers that have a voltage output. The full scale on these devices is not standardized, but usually is between 0.3-2V AC. Despite the lack of standardization, there are several advantages to using a CT with a voltage output. It eliminates the need for heavy leads or a high VA rating. The voltage output also allows a greater distance between the CT and the meter. Another consideration - an open secondary loop on a 1A or 5A CT can produce hazardous high voltage. Models with a voltage output are clamped to a safe level.

Current Transducers also use a solid-core or split core transformer to sense an AC current. However they have circuitry to convert the output to a low level DC signal, either volts or mA. Models with a DC voltage or 1mA current output may be self-powered. Models with a 4-20mA DC output usually require an external power supply.

See product info for Current Transformers or AC Current Transducers. The CT Application Notes have guidelines for specifying a current transformer.