Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Can a Pulse Transformer Solve World Hunger?

Small electric pulses, processed by a
pulse transformer, stimulate growth

One of our customers sells a system to stimulate plant growth.  The stimulation is accomplished by passing small electric pulses through the ground.  These pulses stimulate the plant roots to grow faster and a larger.  This more robust root network allows the plant to grow faster.  It is more complicated than just electrically stimulating the roots; maximum performance is when the pulses of electricity vary over a wide range of frequencies – processed by a pulse transformer.

The problem our customer brought to us was that the waveform was not the correct shape, and the electrical efficiency of the system was poor.  Since this is a product that is in the market, the customer’s requirement included a limitation on the physical size.  It could not increase because the customer committed to keeping the same outer dimensions.

The restrictions on physical size, tight waveform criteria, and the wide range of operating frequencies made us rethink the entire design.  The first step was to change to a high efficiency ferrite core.  This did two things; it allowed the system to operate at a high level of electrical efficiency and the physical size was actually reduced.  Yes, sometimes the best things come in small packages.  The windings were carefully calculated to ensure that the core did not saturate.  Core saturation would cause poor efficiencies and also variable and unpredictable performance.

The end result was a pulse transformer with a ferrite core that does a superb job in a smaller package.  This made the customer, and lots of plants, very happy.

Written by
Denny Wist
President of ButlerWinding

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