Why can a buck-boost transformer operate a kVA load many times larger than the kVA rating on its nameplate?

Since the transformer has been auto-connected in such a fashion that the 22V secondary voltage is added to the 208V primary voltage, it produces 230V output.

The autotransformer kVA is calculated:

kVA Formula

For our example:

Example kVA Calculation

The picture to the below illustrates the difference in physical size between the autotransformer of 1 kVA, capable of handling a 9.58 kVA load, and an isolation transformer capable of handling a 7.5 kVA load.

Acme Autotransformers

To cite an example… a model T111683 buck-boost transformer has a nameplate kVA rating of 1 kVA, but when it’s connected as an autotransformer boosting 208V to 230V, its kVA capacity increases to 9.58 kVA.

The key to understanding the operation of buck-boost transformers lies in the fact that the secondary windings are the only parts of the transformer that do the work of transforming voltage and current.

In the example above, only 22 volts are being transformed (boosted) — i.e. 208V + 22V = 230V. This 22V transformation is carried out by the secondary windings which are designed to operate at a maximum current of 41.67 amps (determined by wire size of windings).

For our example:


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