Toroid Transformer

This is the first of a short series devoted to items of technology I have run across in my pursuit of my electronics hobby that were once “cool” but are now seldom used. Most of the things I will show here are destined to be thrown away or otherwise disposed of, as I have found no use for them, either.

The Toroid

The toroid is a big deal in some branches of New Age Physics and is a significant concept in regular physics as well.

Technically, “toroid” describes the shape of a torus or similar geometric object. It is, however, used as a noun. The shape is, colloquially, a “doughnut.”

Coils wound on toroid cores have been around for a long time, as they have certain advantages to cylindrical coils or square transformer forms. The magnetic field they generate tends to stay inside the core, so they emit less electromagnetic interference.

Toroidal parts are a little tricky to manufacture, but the need for them has become so great that they are now commonplace. However, 60Hz (or 50Hz) power transformers are a rarity in electronic equipment nowadays, having been replaced by high-frequency transformers. They are still used in electric power systems.

My Transformer

toroidal-power-transformer

This transformer came in a video distribution rack made by a company called Sigma, probably around 1995. The primary takes line voltage (120VAC) and the secondary outputs about 30VAC with a center tap. It was used to make a +/- 15V power supply. That power was fed to amplifier modules that created +/- 12V rails using on-card linear regulators. The amplifiers were high-power op amps connected in current mode. They only needed a voltage gain of 2. Each card had two. This was for old composite video. Composite video is out of style now, so all the equipment that was made for it (and there was a LOT!) is now just this side of junk.

The future of legacy technology

Does old technology have a future? SciFi writers have speculated about this. What if this planet gets downgraded and we can’t make modern technology any more? Would older “junk” technology help us recover? And what if we travel to a distant planet that turns out to be less advanced than ours? Would it help to have an older technology available that would be usable there? These are actually ancient questions, but not even LRH ever really goes there. It gets mentioned in accounts of ET history every now and then. If the true data about Antarctica ever gets released, it would be quite a revelation, and this question comes into play in those ancient events.

But I must say, this thing weighs about 5 pounds and is now replaced by technologies weighing less than 1 pound. You could never take it into space using our rockets. But should I keep it as a novel paperweight?

toroidal power transformer upright

It is somewhat interesting to look at.

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