How To Know The Polarity Of Single Phase Transformers?

Single-Phase Polarity
The polarity of a transformer can either be additive or subtractive. These terms describe the voltage that may appear on adjacent terminals if the remaining terminals are jumpered together.

The origin of the polarity concept is obscure, but apparently, early transformers having lower primary voltages and smaller kVA sizes were first built with additive polarity. When the range of kVAs and voltages was extended, a decision was made to switch to subtractive polarity so that voltages between adjacent bushings could never be higher than the primary voltage already present.

Thus the transformers built to ANSI standards today are additive if the voltage is 8660 or below and the kVA is 200 or less; otherwise they are subtractive.

This differentiation is strictly a U.S. phenomenon. Distribution transformers built to Canadian standards are all additive, and those built to Mexican standards are all subtractive. Although the technical definition of polarity involves the relative position of primary and secondary bushings, the position of primary bushings is always the same according to standards.

Therefore, when facing the secondary bushings of an additive transformer, the X1 bushing is located to the right (of X3), while for a subtractive transformer, X1 is farthest to the left.

To complicate this definition, a single-phase pad-mounted transformer built to ANSI standard Type 2 will always have the X2 mid-tap bushing on the lowest right-hand side of the lowvoltage slant pattern.

Polarity has nothing to do with the internal construction of the transformer windings but only with the routing of leads to the bushings. Polarity only becomes important when transformers are being paralleled or banked. Single-phase polarity is illustrated in Figure 2.2.11.

FIGURE 2.2.11 Single-phase polarity. (Adapted from IEEE C57.12.90-1999. The IEEE disclaims any responsibility or liability resulting from the placement and use in the described manner.

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