[004] HF Transformer Measurement and Modeling

How to measure and model high-frequency magnetics for switching power supplies. Essential steps for both custom-designed parts, or purchased components.

Power Supply Design Tips 

This article points out some of the issues involved in designing, measuring, and modeling high-frequency magnetics for switching power supplies.

Despite efforts from some magnetics vendors to provide off-the-shelf components to power supply designers, almost all high-performance magnetics are custom. There are many deep and complex issues involved in the design of magnetics. I will try to cast some light on just a few of these issues.

Transformer Design Example

Figure 1 shows a simple 1:1 transformer. The transformer uses an ungapped EPC-25 core from TDK, made from PC-44 material. This transformer was designed for use in a 60 W forward converter with 36-60 V input and 12 V output.  

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Figure 1: A simple 1:1 transformer designed for a 100 kHz, 60 W forward converter.

Figure 2 shows the winding layout, with just a single layer of 18 turns for the primary winding, a layer of thin insulation tape, and a single layer of 18 turns for the secondary winding.

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Figure 2: Winding layout of the transformer of Figure 1.

This is a very straightforward, easy-to-manufacture design of a two-winding transformer. However, as you will see below, the resulting circuit element created is anything but simple.

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