Like any other transformer, a current transformer has a primary winding, a magnetic core, and a secondary winding. The alternating current flowing in the primary produces a magnetic field in the core, which then induces a current in the secondary winding circuit. A primary objective of current transformer design is to ensure that the primary and secondary circuits are efficiently coupled, so that the secondary current bears an accurate relationship to the primary current.
The most common design of CT consists of a length of wire wrapped many times around a silicon steel ring passed over the circuit being measured. The CT's primary circuit therefore consists of a single 'turn' of conductor, with a secondary of many tens or hundreds of turns. The primary winding may be a permanent part of the current transformer, with a heavy copper bar to carry current through the magnetic core. Window-type current transformers (aka zero sequence current transformers, or ZSCT) are also common, which can have circuit cables run through the middle of an opening in the core to provide a single-turn primary winding. When conductors passing through a CT are not centered in the circular (or oval) opening, slight inaccuracies may occur.
Shapes and sizes can vary depending on the end user or switchgear manufacturer. Typical examples of low voltage single ratio metering current transformers are either ring type or plastic moulded case. High-voltage current transformers are mounted on porcelain bushings to insulate them from ground. Some CT configurations slip around the bushing of a high-voltage transformer or circuit breaker, which automatically centers the conductor inside the CT window.
The primary circuit is largely unaffected by the insertion of the CT. The rated secondary current is commonly standardized at 1 or 5 amperes. For example, a 4000:5 CT would provide an output current of 5 amperes when the primary was passing 4000 amperes. The secondary winding can be single ratio or multi ratio, with five taps being common for multi ratio CTs. The load, or burden, of the CT should be of low resistance. If the voltage time integral area is higher than the core's design rating, the core goes into saturation towards the end of each cycle, distorting the waveform and affecting accuracy.
Read more about this topic: Current Transformer
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