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

Electronics or holonics ?

Current is electrons moving one way ( - towards + ) or holes moving the opposite way ( + towards - )
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Thos are poor analogies because none of them started out as electronic things. Adding the word 'electronic' created a whole new version of that thing.
Oh look - more selective ignoring.

What about "guinea pig" and "bus conductor"? Are they poor analogies also?

But transformers already are electronic.
Not really. They are electronic components, but not electronic devices. A brick is a house component, it is not a house device.

Adding the word 'electronic' tells you nothing new
Yes it does - it tells you that this is not a transformer, it is an electronic transformer.

It doesn't distinguish reliably between a transformer which is an electronic component, and an SMPS.
Yes it does.

A transformer is a transformer.

An electronic transformer is something different - the word "electronic" was added to name something different from a transformer. So it distinguishes perfectly between a transformer and a {something} transformer.

Those who know, and understand, and need to know that an electronic transformer is a SMPS know and understand that.

To those don't know, or understand, and who don't need to know it doesn't matter

It's like saying 'electronic capacitor'. Why does it mean? A capacitor? More than a capacitor? If so, is it functionally identical, or just kinda similar in some ways but not others? Sure, the name is linguistically correct, but at best it is uninformative, and at worst misleading.
It might be neither had there already been something called a capacitor and we needed to call it an "electronic capacitor" to distinguish it.

If something were to be newly termed a "{whatever} capacitor", and people started calling it simply a "capacitor" in contexts where confusion could arise, then maybe "electronic capacitor" might become a good term to use.

Note, at no time have I ever said that it's OK to call one of these a transformer


I say it is OK to call it an electronic transformer. Because that is what it is called.
You circled a definition like it proved something. So did I. Fair's fair!
I did it not to deny the existence of (in my screenshot) definition #1, but because you were denying the existence of definition #2.

When I thus highlighted the existence of definition #2, and suggested that if you didn't like it you should complain to the dictionary compilers, you said "BUT my dictionary says..." and showed 2 definitions. One of which was the same as the definition I highlighted in response to your apparent problem with "Anything which transforms must be a transformer of some sort, given the word."
Agreed (did anyone even question thhis?).
I've lost count of the number of times Bernard has. Given how often, in discussions about the wisdom or validity of the term "electronic transformer", he has talked about problems arising from the nature of SMPSs, questioning the idea that the name has no relevance can only be what he is doing.

But they'd be much less likely to assume they're the same thing, if they have more unique names. They'd be morely likely to find out more information before forging ahead with either device. As the Americans say, they would "get a clue".
You think?

You think that people who cannot tell the difference between voltage and current would go off and learn about switch mode power supplies in case there was something about them which they ought to know before using them to do what they were sold to do, i.e. power some ELV lights? Really?

You think that people who see nothing wrong with the idea of having a switch wired so that it directly connects L&N would go and "get a clue"? Really?

You think that people who buy a lighting product from a major retailer consisting of lights and a power supply would assume that they should do research if the power supply was labelled "Switch Mode Power Supply", and not assume that it was OK to use it to power the lights? Really?

And what about this clue-getting strategy? http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=what+is+an+electronic+transformer ?
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Are we to assume that you do not like the term "bus conductor", possibly because they are not made of (particularly) conductive material?
You will assume whatever is most confrontational.
So can we assume that you are happy with the term "bus conductor"?

Why is that?

Is it because the bus conductor is made of particularly conductive material and used in a bus in some way?

Or is it because he conducts a bus?
Please take your complaints about the meanings of words to the editors or lexicographers working for the publishers of dictionaries, for I can do nothing about them.
You can't do anything about the fact that small SMPSs packaged and sold to be used to power ELV lights ARE called "electronic transformers" either, but that doesn't seem to stop you wasting your time complaining about it.
No - he/she took out something he/she considered as "wordy":


The edit I'm talking about is this one:


"yeah mate, you need a transformer for those lamps.",
...later into B&Q...
"Electronic transformer, hmm? He said transformer, and this says transformer on it. Must be what he meant."
...buys wrong device.

"yeah mate, you need an electronic transformer for those LED lamps."
...later into B&Q...
"Transformer, hmm? Great, sounds like what I need. Doesn't say 'electronic' on it, but all these plastic cubes are electronic, right?"
...buys wrong device.

"yeah mate, you need an SMPS for those LED lamps."
...later into B&Q...
"Transformer, hmm? That doesn't sound like what I need."
...further down the aisle...
"Aha, this one says SMPS on it! Sorted."
...buys correct device.
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I am not sure what the point of that is - other than to liken it to someone in B&Q saying "I don't know, he just said a bulb".
I am not sure what the point of that is

It was to show that you were right:

  1. The original electromagnetic induction voltage transformers were/are not electronic.
  2. Yes they are. All electrical circuit components are electronic by definition*"of, relating to, or utilizing devices constructed or working by the methods or principles of electronics".
  3. No, they aren't.
  4. "Transformer, hmm? Great, sounds like what I need. Doesn't say 'electronic' on it, but all these plastic cubes are electronic, right?"...buys wrong device.

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