A thread for discussing "when is a Transformer not a Transformer" (technical and semantic)

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As expected the forum management have decided that an explanation of the problems that SMPS modules can cause should be shifted to the jokes forum.

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Moderator's note

By all means have one. I have set this one up for you with a descriptive title.

But not filling up threads started by innocent DIYers.

Love and peace

Mod
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un-named Mod in red said:
But not filling up threads started by innocent DIYers.
The innocent DIY posted
In a fit of enthusiasm today, I bought 10 X 35w equivalent 12v LED lamps to replace the 50w halogen lamps in my kitchen down lighters. I never gave a thought to the drivers (there is a transformer/driver on each fitting) until I switched them on. They all work (with one exception). Question is: will they continue to work? Will there be any medium/long term harm to the drivers?

The exception is one lamp which after 30mins or so starts a high frequency flicker. I changed a couple of bulbs over to confirm it is not a lamp issue. As far as I know the drivers are all the same, they were professionally installed about 8 years ago. Any ideas? is this just a driver failing?

Why should he not be given a clear answer as to why his lamps are not behaving as he expects them to.
 
He should, and in doing so he should be told about electronic transformers.

You keep on and on and on conflating the issue of the nature of/potential problems with SMPSs and the calling of them "electronic transformers", as if somehow you expect people to believe that the two are linked, even though you clearly don't.

You've even done it with the title of this topic.

So - do you want to discuss the potential problems of electronic transformers, do you want to explain to people why electronic transformers can misbehave, do you want to make DIYers aware of best practices for the use of electronic transformers, do you want to advise them on the specifications they should look for when choosing electronic transformers?

Or do you want to start banging on about there being no such thing as electronic transformers, or to try and make out that it is using that name which stops DIYers from being aware of the issues with them?

If the former, why not create a succinct article for the Wiki, explaining in broad, simple terms, how an electronic transformer works, and how there can therefore be possible problems with dimming, with minimum loads, with supplying loads other than incandescent lights, and so on?

If the latter then the Mods might as well lock this topic now, because it will just be a waste of space. I get that you and Winston don't like the term, but tough - suck it up - there is nothing you can do about it. Attempting to deny reality is foolishly pointless, and confusing people who use it by telling them that they are wrong and that there are no such things is unacceptable.
 
You keep on and on and on conflating the issue of the nature of/potential problems with SMPSs and the calling of them "electronic transformers", as if somehow you expect people to believe that the two are linked, even though you clearly don't.

Yes they are called electronic transformers and the name does not have any effect on what they do.

Can you not see ( though I think it is a case of not wanting see ) that using an electronic transformer requires knowledge of the effects that they have on the lighting installation. The majority of manufacturers of electronic transformers do not mention these effects because if they did the sales of their electronic transformers would be reduced.

make out that it is using that name which stops DIYers from being aware of the issues with them?

What ever name is used for a switch mode device it should be accompanied with a data sheet which makes the potential user aware of the problems that accompany the use of a switch mode device.

Attempting to deny reality is foolishly pointless,

You are the one denying the reality that connecting switched mode devices together is prone to problems.
 
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I looked up transformer in the dictionary, and it does seem that isolation transformers may be incorrectly labelled, they neither transform voltage or current availability, but clearly the electronic transformer does transform so can't really say it is not a transformer. However unlike the wire wound versions it often also transforms the frequency as well.

The problem as well as transforming it often regulates the output, it does this by switching on and off, often called a switch mode power supply or pulse width modulated, there is a minimum on time it would not work if 100% off, so likely around 5% on and 95% off is the limit, so unlike the wire wound versions if has a minimum and well as maximum output, for 12 volt lights typically 35 to 110 VA and it is the 35 VA which can be thought of as watts which is the problem. So if the LED is smaller than 35 watt the unit will likely go into safety shut down, they often auto reset so this may not mean it stops working, but more likely it either gives less than the 12 volt RMS voltage or causes the lamps to flash.

So how have I done, do you think this explains it?
 
What ever name is used for a switch mode device it should be accompanied with a data sheet which makes the potential user aware of the problems that accompany the use of a switch mode device.
Very true, I looked at some GU5.3 bulbs, clearly marked 12 V 50/60 Hz, but look at the transformer and there is often nothing to show the output frequency, so reading the data there is nothing to show they don't match, or for that matter do match.
 
That's all it comes down to - English.
Origin
upload_2017-3-23_14-2-7.png

Middle English (as a verb): from Old French transformer or Latin transformare.

So no it comes down to Latin!
 
Yes they are called electronic transformers and the name does not have any effect on what they do.
So why try to claim that the name they have is responsible for confusion over what they do?


Can you not see ( though I think it is a case of not wanting see ) that using an electronic transformer requires knowledge of the effects that they have on the lighting installation. The majority of manufacturers of electronic transformers do not mention these effects because if they did the sales of their electronic transformers would be reduced.
And can you not see ( or is it a case of not wanting see ) that that applies just as much to using a switch mode power supply?


What ever name is used for a switch mode device it should be accompanied with a data sheet which makes the potential user aware of the problems that accompany the use of a switch mode device.
So are such data sheets not supplied with electronic transformers because they aren't called switch mode power supplies?


You are the one denying the reality that connecting switched mode devices together is prone to problems.
No - I'm denying that their name has any relationship with any problems associated with their use.


You clearly feel very strongly about all of this. In far less time, and with far less effort, than you have expended so far in arguing about it every time some hapless questioner uses the "wrong" term, you could have written a wonderful article for the Wiki providing all of the explanations, cautions and education etc which you think are desperately needed.

Why haven't you done that?
 
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I am sure we could make the list a lot longer, I do think not putting the output frequency is wrong where not the same as input frequency, but where they need a 35 watt load they are clearly marked, if some one can't read where it says 35 - 105 VA and they under load or over load the device it is not really any fault of the manufacturer.

However if some one fits diodes and due to the frequency not being 50 Hz it causes radio transmissions then it is down to the manufacturer.
 
Where's Winston?

I'm here.

For the umpteenth time there is NO SUCH THING as an electronic transformer. It is a name coined by ignorant manufacturers and propagated by ignorant electricians who don't understand what a transformer is. The correct name is SMPT.

A transformer does not change frequency. It is a wire wound device that works by electromagnetic induction. It usually changes voltage or current but there are special 1:1 isolation types that don't even do that.
 

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